Shefali Jariwala: Interacting with sex workers took me to a very dark place and it changed my perspective towards them
Actor Shefali Jariwala played the role of a sex worked in web show Ratri Ke Yatri 2 and for the same, she had to meet and interact with several real life sex workers.
It can really be a daunting task for an actor to get into the skin of a character they’re portraying on screen. Actor Shefali Jariwala faced similar challenges while prepping for her recent web show, Ratri Ke Yatri 2, where she plays the role of a a sex worker. And to get the nuances right, she had to meet and interact with several sex workers. While the actor says it helped her get a better understanding of the character, she also admits that the process took her to a very dark place, and made her question a lot of ideas that she believed in.
“Before doing this project, I had preconceived notions about sex workers. I used to judge them because I thought what they did was dirty...you know how people think, ‘Ganda kaam hai, gande log hain?’ But that is very wrong and untrue,” she continues, “We, as a society, treat them as outcasts, ignoring the fact that, at the end of the day, they are normal women. We fail to recognise that they have their own set of challenges and reasons for choosing this profession.”
The actor says it was after she got to know the lives of sex workers closely that her perceptions changed. “Interacting with several of them and hearing their stories changed my perspective significantly. The whole process was very tragic for me and took me to a very dark place,” she notes.
In fact, Jariwala she was so invested in their lives that even after the project got over, it was difficult for her to come out of that zone. “I cannot explain what I felt and how their stories and struggles affected me mentally and emotionally. I had no idea how to switch it off,” she reveals.
Now that she has played this intense character, the 39-year-old acknowledges that it helped her grow not just as an artiste but also as a human being and made her sympathetic towards people. “I feel the project on a whole helped me prove the potential that I hold as an actor. After this, people started taking me seriously as an actor and can also imagine me in non-glamorous roles,” she says, adding, “Previously, they would only offer me characters, where I would have to be a bimbette or a good dancer. But, now I am getting calls for good projects. I have already shot for three shows with characters that are complex and interesting. I am very hungry and greedy for good roles, and I’m glad I’m am finally getting to do it,” she concludes.